These days we are daily hit by major news stories that cause sensation, horror, sadness, or even delight, (not much delight at the moment, except for the royal engagement or the rare Olympic gold medal) – with their dramatic headlines.. The news of these events may even last a few days, but then these stories, that seemed so momentous at the time, are quickly taken off the front page and forgotten.
The one that haunts me most is the plight of that poor woman, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been held in an Iran jail for nearly two years on trumped up charges. Her news came to prominence when our idiotic buffoon of a Foreign Minister, Boris Johnson, made her plight so much worse by announcing that she had been out to Iran on a lecture tour when in fact she had merely been out on a family visit. This immediately was pounced on by the media and an apology was squeezed out of Boris in Parliament. To make amends he travelled to Iran to raise awareness of her plight and try to get her home by Christmas but nothing has happened and the weeks tick by. She has already been in solitary confinement for more than 8 months and now it is alleged she has been tortured with a whole catalogue of abuses. Her poor husband who has fought tirelessly for her, needs to reunited with his wife now. Her child needs her mother back. What is the British Government doing? Nothing as far as the public can see. Boris has left the problem behind and now spends his time justifying his stance on Brexit. Has he no conscience or shame? I hope if I have a problem when abroad, Boris and the Foreign Office aren’t the ones left to help me. Of course since the Brexit debacle, this country has little standing in the eyes of the world anyway.
Another recent horrifying story is the school shooting in Florida. It covered our headlines but soon, once the funerals are over, the story will yet again be lost. There have been so many similar horrific shooting events in the US schools, it is baffling for those of us on this side of the Atlantic to understand why action has not been taken. We had a shooting in Dunblane 20 years ago. New gun laws were passed and we have not had a school shooting since. In the UK we are made to understand that the gun lobby which powerfully influences the US government and which also heavily funds the President – will not be moved when it comes to amending their gun laws. Can they not understand that the weapons used now are very different to the ones when the original law was made? I am probably over-optimistic but there is one ray of hope that things could change – in that there is a planned walk-out of students from their schools in April and they will stay out until the Congress does something about the gun laws. It cannot be right that any boy of 18 – whether with mental health problems or not – can get hold of a weapon that can deliver so much damage within minutes. President Trump please note, prayers and thoughts are not enough in this situation. Take some action to end school massacres. NOW.
Another of the forgotten news stories is the NHS. The headlines in January were all about the winter crisis and old people left in hospital corridors to die. Now that the sensational headlines have stopped, this dreadful government seems to have forgotten the NHS, along with the many crises in our prisons, schools, social care and housing. Their time is taken up with their Brexit muddle – which is to go on and on in ever more depressing circles.
It is not all doom and gloom. The days are getting longer, the sun has made an appearance and I have planted up my window boxes of herbs. I have also started on a new tapestry cushion which is of a badger – which is excitingly different from anything I have done before.
Let’s hope for some really good news on one or all of the above – very soon.